128 Graphic Novels/Comic Strip Books in 2016

At the beginning of 2016, I never set out to read a lot of graphic novels. My only reading goal was a measly 8 books (which I managed, even without including the graphic novels). But then came May, when I wandered into my local library, after borrowing a bunch of DVDs from them, including all the Marvel Cinematic Universe ones that I didn’t already own (I’d had a goal to watch 100 films in 2016, which I well surpassed with a total count of 196). I’d been inspired to try and read some of the source material for the Marvel movies, because up until that point, I’d mainly been exposed to the X-Men universe of comics, and those from over a decade ago. What had started out as a minor curiosity into Thor, Captain America, Deadpool, and The Guardians of the Galaxy ended with me working my way through a bunch of those and adding a whole lot more titles, such as various Avengers books, Jessica Jones, Black Widow, Runaways, Ms Marvel, and even some non-Marvel titles like Saga and Nightwing.

Perhaps somewhat problematically, I didn’t always read everything in the correct order, but I often found myself wondering about storylines that were referenced in the books, which led to me finding those titles and catching up on the details. By far, I read the most titles by Brian Michael Bendis, but my favourite writer, which I also read a significant amount from, was Brian K Vaughan. Vaughan had a lot more diversity, not just in terms of titles (I didn’t only read his Marvel stories), but he has a knack for doing well with character diversity, too, and dealing with related issues, whether it’s race, or sexuality. Runaways and Saga are both excellent examples of that. Perhaps the only other title that measured up as well with sexuality diversity was with the Young Avengers, which not only has a gay couple throughout (this is speaking without having read the original Young Avengers series, but I own the complete collection now so I anticipate reading it this year), but in one issue, outs another male character as bisexual. I’ve never seen another bi male character in any other comics (but if you know of any, please let me know in the comment section!)

Additionally, with my interest in character diversity, I found myself drawn to checking out the Marvel titles where well-known Marvel characters had been re-imagined, specifically Kamala Khan’s Ms Marvel, and the female Thor, and enjoyed them both immensely. Having lived in Malaysia for five and a half years, I have a decent amount of exposure to Muslims, and so it was lovely to see that representation, and some of their experiences, reflected in Ms Marvel. Not only that, but the story itself is engaging and relatable. I also loved how the female Thor storyline was handled, but talking about that would require mentioning spoilers.

What I can say about the female Thor that hopefully isn’t too spoilery was that it came about because Thor Odinson lost his ability to wield his hammer, which of course set me off to find out why by reading the Original Sin storyline. I ended up delving into a bunch of story arcs that crossed various Marvel titles after that, and it was nice to eventually see where the brief Deadpool intersections fed the full story, because I read the Deadpool books long before I looked into the main books that held those story arcs (namely the various Avengers books).

I’ve yet to read all of the connected Civil War books that I want to, but I’ve read enough of them to talk a little about what I’ve enjoyed. The issue that leads to the civil war between super heroes is somewhat different from the one explored in the movie Captain America: Civil War, and one that I think is even more pertinent, especially now that we’re about to swear in president-elect Donald Trump. The issue in this civil war is the Superhuman Registration Act, whereby all persons with super human abilities must register with the government, or risk being criminals, and hunted down by other super heroes who used to be their friends. What I’ve enjoyed about this story arc is how well it parallels with Nazi Germany (even Sue Storm mentions this in Fantastic Four: Civil War), and the relevance for today is because of Trump’s desire to register all Muslims in America. Not only that, but considerations can also be made to our right to privacy. Maybe it’s not such a big deal for those like Tony Stark, whose identities aren’t secret from the public, but there are plenty of good reasons to not be public about everything in your life: of highest importance being your personal safety and the safety of your family and those closest to you. Though this isn’t explored in the same depth, our real world equivalent might be with those who speak out against those committing crimes against civil rights, who then find themselves targets of hackers and have their personal information such as home address made public against their will, and then subject to intimidation and threats.

So I’ve really enjoyed seeing how one of the biggest comic book companies has addressed so many important issues, rather than solely being about the entertainment value. Those titles do exist, too, but the variety is good.

Overall, my favourite Marvel titles that I read in 2016 were: Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy, Runaways, Ms Marvel (with Kamala Khan), and Jessica Jones. My favourite non-Marvel title was, by far, Saga (so much so that I started buying single issues).

I’m still reading a bunch of graphic novels, because I didn’t finish the storylines I’d started before the year ended (particularly with Civil War, Secret Invasion [though I have, now, read all of Secret Invasion that I intended to, except for the Mighty Avengers books, which don’t seem to be available at my library], and Siege), but if you’re curious about the complete list of books I read in 2016, you can check them out below.

Marvel books:
Agent Carter: Operation S.I.N.
All-New All-Different Avengers vol 1: The Magnificent Seven
All-New All-Different Avengers vol 2: Family Business
Ant-Man: Second Chance Man
The Avengers vol 1
The Avengers vol 2
The Avengers vol 3
The Avengers vol 4
Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy
Avengers Assemble: Science Bros.
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade
The Avengers Disassembled
The Avengers’ Mythos
Avengers vs. X-Men: It’s Coming
Avengers/X-Men: Bloodties
Black Widow vol 1: The Finely Woven Thread
Black Widow vol 2: The Tightly Tangled Web
Captain America vol 1
Captain America vol 2
Civil War
Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways
Deadpool The Complete Collection vol 1
Deadpool The Complete Collection vol 2
Deadpool The Complete Collection vol 3
Deadpool The Complete Collection vol 4
Deadpool vol 1: Dead Presidents
Deadpool vol 2: Soul Hunter
Deadpool vol 3: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Deadpool vol 4: Deadpool vs. SHIELD
Deadpool vol 5: The Wedding of Deadpool
Deadpool vol 6: Original Sin
Deadpool vol 7: Axis
Deadpool vs. Carnage
Doctor Strange: The Oath
Fantastic Four: Civil War
Guardians of the Galaxy the Complete Collection vol 1
Guardians of the Galaxy the Complete Collection vol 2
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 1: Cosmic Avengers
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2: Angela
Guardians of the Galaxy & All New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3: Guardians Disassembled
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 4: Original Sin
Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 5: Through the Looking Glass
Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted
House of M
Jessica Jones: Alias vol 1
Jessica Jones: Alias vol 2
Jessica Jones: Alias vol 3
Jessica Jones: Alias vol 4
Jessica Jones: The Pulse
Jessica Jones: Avenger
Legendary Star-Lord vol 1: Face It, I Rule
Loki Agent of Asgard vol 1: Trust Me
Loki Agent of Asgard vol 2: I Cannot Tell a Lie
Loki Agent of Asgard vol 3: Last Days
Marvel 1602
Marvel Adventures: Thor Featuring Dr Strange, Ant-Man, & Captain America
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: BFF
Ms Marvel vol 1: No Normal
Ms Marvel vol 2: Generation Why
Ms Marvel vol 3: Crushed
Ms Marvel vol 4: Last Days
Ms Marvel vol 5: Super Famous
Ms Marvel vol 6: Civil War II
New Avengers vol 1: Breakout
New Avengers vol 2: The Sentry
New Avengers vol 3: Secrets & Lies
New Avengers vol 4: The Collective
New Avengers vol 5: Civil War
New Avengers vol 6: Revolution
New Avengers vol 7: The Trust
New Avengers vol 8: Secret Invasion 1
New Avengers vol 9: Secret Invasion 2
New Avengers vol 10: Power
New Avengers vol 11: Search for the Sorcerer Supreme
New Avengers vol 12: Powerloss
New Avengers vol 1
New Avengers vol 2
New Avengers vol 3
New Avengers vol 4
New Avengers vol 5
New Avengers vol 1: Everything Dies
Original Sin – The Mighty Avengers vol 3: Not Your Father’s Avengers
Original Sin – Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm
Original Sin – Who Shot the Watcher?
Runaways vol 1: Pride & Joy
Runaways vol 2: Teenage Wasteland
Runaways vol 3: The Good Die Young
Runaways vol 4: True Believers
Runaways vol 5: Escape to New York
Runaways vol 6: Parental Guidance
Runaways vol 7: Live Fast
Runaways vol 8: Dead End Kids
Runaways vol 9: Dead Wrong
Runaways vol 10: Rock Zombies
Runaways vol 11: Homeschooling
Secret Wars – Star Lord & Kitty Pride: Battleworld
The Thanos Imperative
Thor vol 1
Thor vol 2
Thor vol 3
Thor vol 1: Goddess of Thunder
Thor vol 2: Who Holds the Hammer?
Thor/Iron Man: God Complex
Young Avengers Presents
Young Avengers vol 1: Style > Substance
Young Avengers vol 2: Alternative Culture
Young Avengers vol 3: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space

American Born Chinese
Ask Me About Polyamory
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: R.I.P.
Concrete vol 1: Depths
Concrete vol 2: Heights
Green Arrow: Sounds of Violence
Nightwing vol 1: Traps and Trapezes
Nightwing vol 2: Night of the Owls
Nightwing vol 3: Death of the Family
Paper Girls vol 1
Pride of Baghdad
Saga vol 1
Saga vol 2
Saga vol 3
Saga vol 4
Saga vol 5
Saga vol 6

Individual comics:
Jessica Jones (2016) iss. 1
Jessica Jones (2016) iss. 2
Jessica Jones (2016) iss. 3
Saga iss. 37
Saga iss. 38
Saga iss. 39
Saga iss. 40
Spider-Man/Deadpool iss. 11

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